Muddy March Musings

Spring officially arrives in two days, and with it, a glimmer of hope for warm Spring activities! We have had a few teaser days of sun and temperatures in the 50’s, but we have also had below zero days, cold wind chills, and rock-hard frozen trails. The back road that thawed and rutted on the warm days become then become frozen adventures, so we have eliminated a few trailheads from our hiking options for this season! The late start to the winter weather and snow, and frequent thaw/freeze cycles has resulted in my snowshoeing only 70 days so far; this means I am unlikely to reach even 100 days, and definitely not our average of 125 days/season. We have spike-hiked at east 30 days. But that’s okay, since paddling season should begin in 26 days!

Our annual town meeting day snowshoeing trip was not out of state or the Northeast Kingdom this year; instead we luxuried it up at a posh dog hotel in the southern part of Vermont. Just a 3-day getaway, but nice to explore a part of the state that is new to us ( even though we have a combined 106 years living in Vermont) and get out on Section 4 of the Catamount Trail. We spiked tow trails due to low snow and frozen conditions, but we had a good soft snowshoe (in the wind, rain and drizzle) on Catamount.

Our spring nature outings, usually combined with a hike, have been productive this year. I am considering getting a basic DSLR camera with a better lens, for land-based photography only. I remain hesitant about bringing an expensive camera set-up in the canoe with the dogs, and am usually satisfied with the quality of water-based photos provided by my bridge camera. At present, from a longer distance, my best option is using the video capacity of my camera; hence, I offer two videos of nature sightings this shoulder/mud season.

So we are actively beginning our prep for paddling season. Duncan’s new canoe should go to the canoe shop on April 1st for installation of skid plates, and the moving of the forward thwart. A new wind-sock graces our deck, giving us early morning hints about weather/paddling conditions. New wider rack load bars have arrived, allowing us to place the 2 canoes side by side on our vehicle’s roof. The canoe bag has been organized, and its contents checked, cleaned, and replaced ( i.e FA kit contents) as necessary. We’ll be ready to go as soon as some local lakes have ice-out conditions.

Think Spring!